"Momma, hold my hand," you say to me at bedtime. Your blue eyes widen as your lips soften into a pout. "Just for a little while, momma."
Without hesitation, I climb into your bed, snuggle beside you, and watch as you wrap your hand tightly around one of my fingers. You make soft circles on my hand and trace over lines on my palm, and your eyelids become heavy with each stroke of your fingertips. Before you drift off to sleep, you squeeze my hand and repeat, "Hold my hand, momma. Just for a little while."
And I do, because in a little while, you will no longer fit on my lap and you will no longer want to be rocked to sleep. You won't ask me to read just one more bedtime story, and I will no longer be strong enough to carry you here and there. In a little while, you won't need me to help you tie your shoes or push you on the park swings. You will not want to braid and brush my hair and you won't care to sing silly songs with me. In a little while, you will no longer reach for my hand to hold when crossing the street or walking through the aisles of a busy store or at the end of a long day.
"Hold my hand, momma. Just for a little while," you ask of me. And I do. And I always will, because the "little whiles" in life are fast fleeting -- faster than we think.